Posted on behalf of F. Arthur McMorris, Ph.D.
MARCH 6, 2013
Dear PA Birders,
Please report any sightings you may have of Peregrine Falcons near cliffs in Pennsylvania. Cliff-nesting peregrines are extremely important to the recovery of the species in Pennsylvania, but only 4 active cliff nests are currently known; all other PA nests are on man-made structures (bridges, buildings and smokestacks). It is quite likely, however, that there are cliff-nesting pairs in PA that just haven’t been discovered yet. If you do see peregrines at or near cliffs in PA, please report them to me.
Right now is an excellent time to detect nesting peregrines, and to observe and enjoy them. This is the beginning of the nesting season: established pairs are renewing the pair bond, single birds are advertizing for mates, and all are demonstrating their “ownership” of their territories, by dramatic display flights and aggressive challenges to practically anything big that flies (Red-tailed Hawks, Bald Eagles, Turkey Vultures, sometimes even small airplanes!). Later in the nesting season they become more secretive, and then later still, when the young are beginning to learn to fly, they become conspcuous again. Now is a great time to enjoy them and a golden opportunity to detect new pairs.
Peregrines were extirpated in eastern North America by DDT and other pesticies in the 1940’s and 1950’s, but they have been re-introduced and the population in PA is recovering steadily. Thirty-two nesting pairs were documented in 2011 and 2012, but still only 4 cliff-nesting pairs are known. Your reports will be very valuable in aiding the recovery of this charismatic species.
F. Arthur McMorris, Ph.D.
Peregrine Falcon coordinator
Pennsylvania Game Commission
405 Bryn Mawr Ave.
Bala-Cynwyd, PA 19004